Flame retardants

What are flame retardants?

To limit flammability, flame retardant chemical additives are added to many everyday products: flame retardants.

What are the main flame retardants?

The RoF belong to several families of chemicals:

  •     PCB or Poly-Chloro-Biphenyls
  •     PBDE or Poly-Brominated-Diphenyl-Ether
  •     Bisphenol derivatives such as Tetra-Bromo-Bisphenol-A (TBBPA)
  •     Organophosphates such as TPP (Tri-Phenyl-Phosphate), TCP (Tri-Cresyl-Phosphate), TCEP (Tri-Chloro-Ethyl-Phosphate)...
  •     The PBB or Poly-Bromo-Biphenyls
  •     Organobromines like HBCD (Hexa-Bromo-Cyclo-Dodecane)

What are the main health effects of flame retardants?

The main health effects of flame retardants are :

  •     Carcinogenic
  •     Endocrine and thyroid disruptor (PBDE)
  •     Neurological disorders (organophosphates are neurotoxic)
  •     Reprotoxic
  •     Immune system dysfunction
  •     Effects on fetal and child development

Some RoFs such as PCBs and PBDEs are listed in the Stockholm Convention list of Persistent Organic Pollutants because of their toxicity to humans and the environment, their low degradability and their bioaccumulative nature.

Flame retardants can act at low doses of exposure and have health effects many years after exposure.

Why does exposure to flame retardants pose a greater risk to pregnant or nursing women?

The embryo and fetus are not safe from flame retardants because they can cross the placental barrier and expose to "in-utero" contamination.

Due to their lipophilic nature, they bind to fats and contaminate breast milk.

Why is exposure to Flame Retardants a greater risk to children?

Children's bodies are more sensitive to the effects of flame retardants and they can impact their development.

How can I assess my exposure to flame retardants?

Human exposure to flame retardants varies from one individual to another, depending on the environment. The EXPOZOM Organic analysis kit allows you to assess your exposure to flame retardants from a single strand of hair.

The analysis of flame retardants in the hair is performed by a certified laboratory and makes it possible to identify the RoF to which the body is exposed and to measure the level of exposure.

What are the sources of exposure to flame retardants?

The air we breathe inside buildings.

Food contaminated by PCBs and PBDEs.

The main sources of pollution in our daily environment are :

  •     Furnishing fabrics (ex: curtains)
  •     Carpets and rugs
  •     Furnishing foams
  •     Mattresses
  •     Electrical and electronic devices (computers, tablets, telephones, televisions, household appliances, electrical wires and cables)
  •     Construction, decoration and renovation materials
  •     Insulation materials (foam, rock wool, glass wool...)
  •     Materials found inside vehicles (cars, planes and trains)

 Some RoF such as PCBs are dispersed and contaminate today our entire environment, from the depths of the Mariana Trench to the top of Mount Everest.

Occupational exposure to flame retardants

Due to the quantities used, the duration and frequency of exposure, professionals are particularly exposed to FRPs. For example for the following activities:

  •     Furniture manufacturing process
  •     Manufacturing process for bedding
  •     Manufacturing process and use of foams (furniture and insulation)
  •     Manufacturing process (plastics) and use of plastics
  •     Manufacturing process and installation of electronic equipment
  •     Treatment of electronic and furniture waste (foam, carpet, etc.)
  •     Manufacturing process, handling and installation of carpeting
  •     Nail salons
  •     Indoor sports instruction (gymnastics, judo, trampoline...)
  •     Roofing (roofers) and insulation (Polyisocyanurate)


Organic Screening

Measurement of exposure to organic pollutants in the air we breathe, the water or food we eat and the objects we come into contact with. Order your Test